Regressive Autism

This is a lesser well known type of autism which is also known as ’autistic regression’, ’autism with regression’ and ’late-onset autism’.

The extent of the regression varies between individuals. It is often viewed as a continuous range of behaviours rather than a clearly defined line between autism with or without regression.

This spectrum disorder is characterised by a regression in speech, motor skills and social skills which are typical features of autism.

Children with regressive autism

This occurs in children aged between 1 to 2 years who display a normal pattern of development from birth until they reach these ages. They then start to fall back in this development, for example they lose their ability to speak or are unable to interact with a parent.

They do not wave their hands or point to objects and cannot hold eye contact with their parents.

Once this process starts, it continues in a progressive manner in which other symptoms of autism appear. These include obsessive fixation on objects, repetitive actions, hypersensitivity and obvious distress if placed in a new situation.

The toddler is disinclined to play or mimic the actions of another person.

As a parent you may notice that your child dislikes being carried or handled and licks or strokes objects in a repetitive manner. They hate normal levels of noise and react to touch, sense and smell.

Over time your child will find it difficult to make friends with other children and will often be excluded from games and similar activities due to their perceived (unfairly) aloofness and social gaucheness.

He or she will prefer objects to people and will develop a narrow interest, which border on obsession, on a particular item or subject. Their behaviour may range from passive through to hyperactive bordering on aggressive.

Tantrums and self harm are other aspects.

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